NFL Draft: Clemson CB Headlines Best Eagles Targets on Day 2

Andrew Booth Jr.

Getty Clemson cornerback prospect Andrew Booth Jr. could be a potential target for the New York Jets in round two.

By most accounts, the Philadelphia Eagles won the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Hooray. Book those plane tickets to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. The Jalen Hurts-to-A.J. Brown connection is going to be magical and end in another parade down Broad Street.

That was a joke, of course. The Eagles probably aren’t good enough to win the Super Bowl this year, but there was a lot to like in the first round. General manager Howie Roseman played his hand like a World Series of Poker champion. That’s not to say he robbed Tennessee, but he filled one of his most glaring roster holes with the best option out there. Now Roseman will look to build off that momentum on Day 2.

“Long night. Excited to have these two guys,” Roseman said after trading for A.J. Brown and drafting Jordan Davis. “Obviously, we have a lot of work to do here the next couple days.”

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Best Remaining Players: Cornerback Edition

The Eagles couldn’t maneuver high enough to grab one of the top two cornerbacks: Derek Stingley Jr. went No. 3 to Houston; Ahmad Gardner went No. 4 to New York. And Trent McDuffie went to Kansas City at No. 21.

Don’t worry, there are several solid cornerbacks left in Round 2. Philadelphia holds pick No. 51 (Round 2) and pick No. 81 (Round 3) on Day 2 and the obvious target would be Clemson’s Andrew Booth. Once thought to be a late-rounder in the first round, Booth remains available for a cornerback-needy team.

Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson wrote: “The Clemson cornerback is not afraid to mix it up with bigger receivers, helped by his belief that he’s the best player out there. He plays the game with archetypal cornerback swagger and has the goods to back it up.”

Other potential targets at corner include Kyler Gordon (Washington), Roger McCreary (Auburn), Cam Taylor-Britt (Nebraska), Tariq Woolen (UTSU), Cordale Flott (LSU).

Keep an eye on Marcus Jones (Houston) who adds double value as an explosive kick returner. Bleacher Report compared him to D.J. Reed and predicted he might be there in Round 3. They wrote: “At the cornerback position, Jones is a scrappy player who shows very good physicality when taking on blocks. An aware player who shows the ability to quickly read and react to what is in front of him.”

Best Remaining Players: Safety Edition

Safety is arguably an even greater need than cornerback in Philly where Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps are the projected starters. Kyle Hamilton was set to fall in their laps on Thursday, then they traded up for Jordan Davis and ignored the Notre Dame stud. Hamilton was considered the best safety in this draft.

But there is a ton of value at the safety spot in the middle rounds. Baylor’s Jalen Pitre is the consensus best player left on the board, but he’ll have his fair share of suitors early in the second round. He definitely won’t make it past New Orleans at No. 49. ESPN’s Steve Muench described Pitre as such: “He flashes the ability to jump routes and pluck the ball away from his frame. Pitre is an effective open field tackler who slips blocks, shoot gaps and flies around the field.”

Other targets at safety include Jaquan Brisker (Penn State), Kerby Joseph (Illinois), Nick Cross (Maryland), JT Woods (Baylor), Bryan Cook (Cincinnati).

Keep an eye on Verone McKinley III (Oregon) who has drawn comparisons to Jordan Whitehead due to his ability to play nickel safety. He could be there in Round 5. NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein wrote: “In one corner we have an undersized, short-armed safety with average speed. In the other corner we have game tape highlighting McKinley’s instincts, short-area quickness, aggressive demeanor and nose for making plays on the football.”

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